You need to rebuild your glycogen stores to fuel performance. Skeletal muscle will recover from even the most strenuous workouts within 48 hours. Your nervous system, in contrast, can take up to 10 days to return to normal. To understand this, you have to compare the workloads of both your nervous system and your muscles. In terms of their relative capacities, your nervous system works much harder than your muscles do when you train hard. When you have sufficient glycogen in reserve, you’re allowing your motor neurons to fire at a higher level during training. This, in turn, allows your muscles to fire with maximum force.
You need glucose for maximal contraction as sets approach failure. When you approach the anaerobic point during training, your muscles need glucose to continue contracting during the glycolytic (glucose-burning) cycle. Making sure your glycogen stores are full will allow your muscles to use fatty acids during training until the need for glucose arises. It’s at this point that glycogen is broken down and used. Eating high-glycemic carbs at night will give you the glucose you need; eating low-glycemic carbs won’t.
Your glycogen levels may help muscular growth. This point has been debated just about everywhere, and there are valid points on both sides. Research, however, has shown that full glycogen reserves help limit the protein breakdown caused by training sessions. They also increase glycogen usage during your training session(s) the following day. When I talk about replenishing your glycogen levels, then, I’m not talking about recovering from today’s workout. I’m talking about helping you prepare for tomorrow’s.
High-glycemic carbs won’t kill your nighttime growth hormone release. Eating low-glycemic carbs before bedtime will disrupt nighttime release of growth hormone, which is an incredibly powerful fat burner and lean-tissue builder. Your body won’t release growth hormone while you sleep until approximately two hours after your blood sugar and insulin levels return to normal. Low-glycemic carbs will keep your insulin and blood sugar levels elevated for hours, which is obviously bad. High-glycemic carbs, however, create a spike that ends within an hour or so of eating. In other words, eating junk replenishes your glycogen stores without interfering with your nocturnal HGH cycle. If you’re trying to work Carb Back-Loading with brown rice and whole-grain toast, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. This is precisely why.
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